Friday, January 27, 2017

Patristic Wisdom: Looking to Sunday

He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.”  Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them.  Therefore they called out to the Lᴏʀᴅ, “O Lᴏʀᴅ, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lᴏʀᴅ, have done as it pleased you.”  So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.  Then the men feared the Lᴏʀᴅ exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lᴏʀᴅ and made vows.  And the Lᴏʀᴅ appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah.  And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.  (Jonah 1:12-17)

The sailors and the passengers…do not know the reasons why the prophet, a fugitive servant, deserved to be punished.  And yet they justify God and acknowledge the blood of him whose deeds they do not know to be innocent.… They do not question the justice of the judgment of God but acknowledge the veracity of the just Judge.

Jerome, Against the Pelagians 2.23

Now when we take the blessed prophet as a type of the ministry understood in Christ, there is need to add that the whole world was at risk and the human race was affected by the tempest, as if the waves of sin itself were raging; the dire and insufferable pleasures were overwhelming it, corruption impending in the form of a storm, fierce winds buffeting it—namely, the devil and the wicked powers subject to him and working with him.  When we were in this situation, however, the Creator had pity, and the God and Father sent us the Son from heaven; He took on flesh, arrived on earth even when it was at risk of tempests, and willingly went to His death to make the storm abate, allow the sea to become calm, settle the waves and put an end to the storm; by the death of Christ we were saved.  The tempest abated, the rain passed, and waves settled down, the force of the winds diminished, deep peace then prevailed, and we enjoyed fair weather of a spiritual kind, since Christ has suffered for us.

Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Jonah

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